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What is the Halacha for Racial Justice?

What is the Halacha for Racial Justice?

During the uprisings and protests in Minneapolis, many white people asked themselves,
“What do I do in this moment?”

White people began thinking about anti-racism.
White people began reading, debating, listening, arguing.
All of this is good.
But we can do more.

What do I do in this moment?” 

This is the question that Jewish tradition grapples with.
In the Talmud, our Rabbis read, debate, listen and argue.
But then they ask, “How will this debate affect our halacha?
How will this debate affect the way we walk in our world?”

As non-POC (People of Color) Jews think about anti-racism, we remember our Rabbis.
They did not just read, debate, listen and argue.
They made ideas concrete with a new halacha, a new path.

The halacha of anti-racism must be built from the voices of Black and POC Jews and non-Jews.
It must create concrete steps towards racial justice.

Just as our Jewish practice is enriched by many practicing together, so will our anti-racism grow stronger as more of us join in.
Our strength will come when we walk this new halacha together.

What do I do in this moment?” 

We imagine a halacha that celebrates the Jewish community’s collective strength.
One that seeks systemic change to combat racism.
One that is built in solidarity with the demands
of Black people in our communities.

We imagine a halacha that systemically uproots White Supremacy from our Jewish institutions.

What do I do in this moment?” 

We are calling for the Jewish community to make reparations to Black people in our communities.

Reparations is a demand that members of the Black community have called for since the end of slavery and particularly in the last 30 years. Reparations offers financial restitution for the systemic segregation and exploitation Black people have endured for generations.

Reparations needs to happen at a federal level.
But we cannot wait.
Our Jewish community must make our own halacha, we must walk a new path.

What do I do in this moment?” 

We imagine a halachah of reparations from the Jewish community.

This halacha will listen to Black peoples’ demands for material change.
This halacha will ask non-POC Jews to give back wealth earned from white privilege.
This halacha will urge our Jewish institutions to give reparations with us.

What do I do in this moment?” 

Our strength will come when we walk our communitys halacha together. 

We call on non-POC Jewish individuals, families, and synagogues to
organize reparation funds everywhere.

We call on our Jewish Federations to designate a material portion
of their giving to reparations for Black people.

We call for these reparations to be given directly to Black people.
For those with wealth, reparations should be financial.
For those without wealth, reparations should be a donation of time or services.

What do I do in this moment?” 

Now is the time to create a halacha of anti-racism through the creation
of Jewish supported reparations funds.
It is time for the Jewish community to walk a new path.

We can do more. We must do more.
 
Join a working group in formation. Email audreyglyon@gmail.com
 

Ami Weintraub and Audrey Lyon

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